Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve Jones here… Ask my kids what dad’s favourite book is and in a split second they’ll say in union “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. I’ve read the book a bunch of times. Got the movie, even the special anniversary edition DVD set. My kids bought me tickets to see the play at the Stratford Festival Theatre as a Father’s Day present. Got the t-shirt and ball cap with the words “To Kill a Mockingbird” plastered across it. I named my dog “Scout” after the female protagonist in the book. But my family put their collective foot down when I wanted to name our second dog, “Jem”. Sophie, you have Jessica to thank for your beautiful name.
There is just something about the story that grabs me by the throat and throttles me. Emotions deep within well up every time I see the movie. One of my favorite scenes involves Scout’s father, Atticus Finch, who is a lawyer. He leaves the court room all alone after fighting for the life of an innocent black man who was falsely accused of raping a white woman in the Deep South of Alabama in the 1930s. The entire court has been dispersed. Standing alone, Atticus collects his papers, turns and stoically carrying the burden of the day, he departs. He doesn’t notice that in the “Coloured” section in the upper balcony of the Courthouse, the entire black community stands waiting to honour him as he leaves. One black lady, standing with her peers is caring for Atticus’ young daughter, Scout. She whispers to her, “Stand up, Scout. Your father is passing.” Gets to me every time, without fail!
When I grow up, I want to be just like Atticus Finch. In my opinion, he is definitely one of the greatest fictionalized heroes ever created.
Harper Lee chose to never write another novel after “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Wow! I can only imagine the other tales with which she could have gifted us.
So you can imagine my excitement when I heard that Lee’s only known earlier work was recently discovered and being published July 14, 2015. Guess what’s on my summer reading list?
Harper Lee wrote, “Go Set a Watchman” in the mid-1950s, using the same backdrop and characters of her Pulitzer Prize winning “To Kill a Mockingbird”. It’s set 20 years after the tale told in Mockingbird, in the same town adjusting to the turbulent times transforming mid-1950s America.
A publisher looked at “Go Set a Watchman” and thought a story about her town and characters 20 years earlier might be more interesting. So she wrote “To Kill a Mockingbird” and everyone thought her first book was lost – until late 2014 when a copy was discovered!
I’m looking forward to a good read. I’m hoping Atticus will remain the man who stands above the fray and speaks the truth even when no one else is listening. Something to think about…
Have a blessed week,
Our 2015 Fellowship theme verse is:
“"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 (NLT)